The Italian Air Force Detachment conducting the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states are joined by approx. 90 German soldiers with command and control equipment. Personnel of the German Deployable Control and Reporting Centre (DCRC) settled in at Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force to augment situational airspace awareness and force training of all the three Baltic States that is otherwise carried out by the Control and Reporting Centres (CRC) at Karmėlava, Lielvarde (Latvia), and Tallinn (Estonia) alone.
“German fighter aircraft protecting the Baltic airspace as part of the NATO Air Policing Mission, framework role in the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group in Lithuania, and now – the DCRC deployed in Lithuania showcases Germany’s extraordinarily responsible and complex approach to the security in the Baltic region and the entire NATO,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says.
The German Deployable Control and Reporting Centre at Šiauliai Air Base is planned to start the work officially in mid-October and stay in Lithuania until the end of November. Subdivisions of the DCRC are also deployed in Skede (Latvia) and Amari (Estonia).
The NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states is currently led by an Italian Air Force Detachment with four Eurofighter aircraft operating from Šiauliai Air Base, and a German Air Force Detachment with six Eurofighter fighter aircraft enhance the mission for two consecutive rotations from the Air Base at Amari, Estonia. The air capabilities conducting the mission respond to air alerts at short notice to intercept, identify and escort unidentified aircraft flying near the NATO airspace. Their actions are controlled by the CRCs in all the three Baltic countries, while the German DCRC will support and augment the allied air architecture. In early September a German Air Force mid-air refuelling aircraft was deployed to augment the activities carried out from Šiauliai Air Base.
Personnel of the German Air Force Control and Reporting Centre is able to deploy, set up, and operate the complex air surveillance and control system anywhere in the world. It its closely linked to other CRCs in the Baltic region and the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany. This DCRC deployment to Šiauliai is yet another Germany’s contribution to the NATO Assurance Measures introduced six years ago and demonstrates NATO commitments to the security of the eastern allies.
Germany is Lithuania’s principal ally and a cornerstone guarantee of security and stability in Europe. Lithuanian and Germany signed the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany concerning Temporary Stays of Members of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Lithuania and the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Territory of the Other State in the summer of 2020. Germany contributes significantly to the development of Lithuania’s defence capabilities. It is a longstanding partner to Lithuania in upgrading our Armed Forces, weaponry and military equipment.
Germany is also the framework nation of the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group deployed for deterrence and defence purposes in Rukla since early 2017, and has the largest portion of troops there.
A Mechanised Infantry Brigade of the Lithuanian Armed Forces was affiliated to a German Bundeswehr Division in 2018, thus increasing training opportunities for soldiers of both countries. Germany is also an active participant of the NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic states and delegates officers to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Vilnius.